A Virginia man who had eight Rottweilers was convicted on two counts of animal cruelty Tuesday after being accused of performing sex acts on dogs, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported. Stephen Matthew Taylor, 31, entered an Alford plea for the charge of inflicting pain and causing the death of an animal, a felony, and pleaded guilty to…
According to Washington Post political analyst Philip Bump, a video clip of Donald Trump's "please clap" moment that was filmed at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend is indicative that the public is rapidly losing interest in the former president as fellow Republicans adopt his rhetoric but do it without the actual baggage of being the twice-impeached president who lost re-election.
Describing the video moment by recalling a similar humiliating clip of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) in 2016 just before his campaign to be the GOP presidential nominee died a quiet death, Bump wrote that Trump seems to be suffering the same fate, while also noting polls seem to bear that out.
"Until now. Before January 2021, Trump was consistently identified as the target of more support among Republicans than was the GOP. A year ago, after Trump lost his reelection bid, the two pulled even. And since then, the GOP has built a widening lead," Bump wrote. "Seven years after Trump first emerged as a significant political force, and with him now in semi-retirement post-2020, the party seems finally to have figured out how to use to its own advantage what made him appealing. Trumpism, if you will, has been licensed out like so many Trump products before."
Using the election of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) as an example of someone who got Trump's endorsement while keeping him at arm's length, the analysts said that lesson has not been lost by other GOP candidates who want Trump's fans -- but not him.
Bump also noted Trump's attempts to make the case that he is still important with his curious decision to endorse two GOP candidates running for the same seat so he can take credit for their win.
"It’s an unintentionally revealing consideration, one that would make explicit that Trump’s concern is not values but the demonstration of success. This isn’t really a secret, but Trump’s generic-to-the-point-of-parody endorsements were in the past at least theoretically predicated on issues," he wrote. "This is the “please clap” of endorsement strategies, an effort to simply gin up the appearance of importance where it otherwise wouldn’t exist. It would demonstrate not Trump’s exaggerated power but, instead, emphasize his weakness."
"It’s also a sign that the party is moving on. Lots of candidates — most candidates! — running for Republican nominations are echoing Trump’s rhetoric and priorities, and nearly all would rather have his endorsement than not. But it’s not hard to imagine that Trump’s endorsement would simply become another factor in the mix as candidates scramble to appeal to the Republican base, " he added before suggesting, "But, out of office and trying to find his footing, there is a lot of evidence that Trump’s position itself has softened, that the GOP has figured out ways to make his priorities and energies work to their advantage — just as he, in 2016, figured out how to make the GOP work to his."
"Trumpism isn’t going anywhere, clearly," he predicted. "The question now is the extent to which Trump himself will still get to benefit from it."
You can read the whole piece here.
The U.S. Capitol police have started scrutinizing the backgrounds of individuals who meet with lawmakers.
After the Jan. 6 insurrection, the police department's intelligence unit began examining people and their social media feeds who meet with lawmakers, who hadn't been aware of the practice, and even some of the intelligence analysts have raised concerns with the department's inspector general, reported Politico.
“Whatever they think that sounds like for security, it sounds dangerously close — if not already over the line — to spying on members of Congress, their staff, their constituents and their supporters,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), a former criminal defense attorney. “Anybody involved with implementing this without making it known to the actual members of Congress should resign or be fired immediately, and I’m not big on calling for resignations.”
Three sources told Politico that congressional staffers are also subject to the new scrutiny, which was implemented by former Department of Homeland Security official Julie Farnam as part of a series of changes implemented in the intelligence unit starting in fall 2020.
“These reports are incredibly disturbing,” said McKinley Lewis, a spokesperson for Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). “It is unthinkable that any government entity would conduct secret investigations to build political dossiers on private Americans. The American people deserve to know what Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi knew and directed, and when. Senator Scott believes the Senate Rules Committee should immediately investigate.”
A spokesperson for House Administration Committee, which oversees chamber security matters, declined to comment, but Capitol police defended the practice of seeking public information about donors, staffers and other associates who meet with lawmakers.
“It is our duty to protect Members of Congress wherever they are,” police said in a statement. “Just like journalists, we do research with public information.”
Patrick Toomey, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, said the practice raises civil rights concerns.
“When police set out to monitor people’s social media activity without any reason to believe they have engaged in criminal activity, it raises First Amendment concerns,” Toomey said. “Those concerns are especially strong here, where individuals are coming under scrutiny simply because they are exercising their right to petition members of Congress.”
The US Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear suits alleging that race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina are discriminatory against Asian-American students.
The case takes aim at decades-old affirmative action policies designed to increase African-American enrollment in higher education and promote a more diverse student body.
The nation's highest court has previously upheld the policies, as recently as 2016. But six of the nine current justices are now conservative-leaning, including three nominated by former president Donald Trump.
A US District Court judge rejected claims in January 2019 that Harvard University discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
The case was filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions, a group led by conservative white activist Edward Blum, who previously attacked the affirmative action policies at the University of Texas.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that Harvard had used personality criteria to favor Black, Hispanic and white applicants over Asian students with similar grades.
They argued that if admissions were based just on grades then more Asian students would be admitted to Harvard, a prestigious Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Harvard denied discriminating against Asians but defended its use of broader selection criteria than academic excellence, such as personality, when considering who to admit.
Federal Judge Allison Dale Burroughs said that while Harvard's admissions process is not perfect, it was right -- for now -- to factor in race to form a diverse student body.
"The rich diversity at Harvard and other colleges and universities and the benefits that flow from that diversity will foster the tolerance, acceptance and understanding that will ultimately make race-conscious admissions obsolete," the judge said.
Students for Fair Admissions challenged the ruling in the Harvard case, which was upheld on appeal, and also brought suit against the University of North Carolina.
Lower courts have also sided with North Carolina, a highly selective public university which did not admit African-American students until the 1950s.
The Supreme Court agreed to consolidate the Harvard and North Carolina cases and will likely hear oral arguments this fall.
The Trump administration backed the challenge to Harvard's use of race in determining admissions, but the Justice Department under Democratic President Joe Biden has sided with the universities.
The affirmative action suit is the latest high-profile case to come before the court, which has already agreed to address gun rights, abortion and Covid-19 vaccination mandates.